The Tigers will be buyers at the deadline

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There’s
a lot of talk about how rough it may be for teams going nowhere this
year to unload talent and salary at the deadline, but according to
owner Mike Illitch, the Tigers will be buying:

Ilitch
has a first-place baseball team, and he said he would do whatever was
necessary to ensure the Tigers remained in first place — even if that
meant adding more to an already inflated payroll.

“We’re
going to do whatever we’ve got to do,” Ilitch said. “We’re three games
in first. What are we going to do? There are a lot of things that we
can do. We’re going to try to improve one way or the other.”

Despite
all of the talk about Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers are in greater need
of offense than pitching, as they have four solid starters but are
second to last in the AL in runs per game. Still, their team ERA is
only a bit above average too, which suggests that the Tigers could be
in the market for any number of players. If Colorado thinks clearly and
realizes that their mini-run, while nice, isn’t evidence that they’re
true contenders, they may do well by dangling Jason Marquis and/or Brad
Hawpe at the Tigers. Matt Holliday would be a pretty useful rental too,
as would Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, or Aburey Huff.

Whatever they
do — as long as they avoid pitching Willis every fifth day — the
Tigers appear to be in good shape in a weak division, and that’s
especially true now that it seems that their owner is willing to load
for bear.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.